Many of us turned into “revolutionaries” this April. It required no protest marches, no dharnas, no violence, not even fasting. A mere click of the ‘Like’ button on the “India Against Corruption” Facebook page, a change of our profile picture into that of Anna Hazare’s, an updation of our “Status” message into “I support Anna” made each feel a part of the great movement. For many, just giving a missed call on 022-61550789 was enough to express their solidarity towards the movement. Anna Hazare fought, not just by fasting but also by ‘Facebooking’. It was the Internet & other communication tools that increased the voice of his anti-corruption movement. So powerful was this tool that within two days the members of the ‘India against corruption’ page increased from 5 lakhs to 12 lakhs. Some 7 lakh people showed their support by giving a missed call on a number texted to them. The revolution was “virtually there” for everyone to join in. It did not require physical presence; as long as you thought alike you could be a part of this ever increasing group, whenever you felt like, and could voice your opinions too on this “virtual” meeting place!


The last few days have witnessed a lot of revolutions around the world, many of which started “virtually” on the Internet. Today, the role of the social media has become more than just a place to catch up with old friends. Rather, it’s now a place where your voice can be heard – and if what you speak is sense, then there is no limit to the number of followers you can gather. Social media is now bringing about social change too.

Thousands of protesters gathered on the streets of Moldova in 2009 to protest against the communist government. Tunisia too overthrew its ruler in 29 days and many called it the “Twitter Revolution”. It was Twitter that gave protestors the courage to rock the Iranian government, and stand up for freedom and democracy. So overwhelmed was Mark Pfeifle, a former national security adviser, that he called for Twitter to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize! Twitter was helping in bringing like-minded people together – and in the case of India, also in staging a non-violent protest... just the way Gandhi did decades ago.

The invention of the printing press gave momentum to the French Revolution . For the first time, pamphlets could be printed in bulk and thoughts and ideas could be spread faster. The invention of Twitter and Facebook has given momentum to all recent revolutions. They have provided a voice that is impossible to censor and that can spread faster than lightening! The new age revolutions have become so big largely because of this digital revolution.

While it’s true that Twitter and Facebook are very important tools to spread information, the fact is, real change requires something more. It requires a true leader, who inspires a feeling of camaraderie, of brotherhood. It’s not just a voice, but a voice filled with passion. A true revolution is not about just the number of virtual “friends” who support you, but about those real people who are ready to die for you; it’s not about the number of “media tools” one has, but about the real ‘cause’ you stand for. As Malcolm Gladwell said, “Social media alone cannot provide what social change has always required.” Yes, it gives a voice to the powerless, but a voice needs a face, the face of a leader, who has the power to attract ‘real’ followers. The ‘Like’ button is a strong indicator of your potential, but for a revolution to reach its full potential, the ‘virtual’ voice needs to be backed by a ‘real’ one too. A great leader of tomorrow will be one who will have the maximum ‘Likes’ and “followers”, both in the virtual and the real world. Both grounds will be equally important .That will be the way to change tomorrow’s world.      Read More....

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